California Money

By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013 – 6:30 am

A bill to raise the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour raced forward at the Capitol on Wednesday, with Democratic lawmakers poised to approve the measure and Gov. Jerry Brown announcing he would sign it.

The increase in the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $10 by 2016 would be the first since 2008, when it was raised by 50 cents to $8.

“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,” Brown said in a statement. “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”

The Democratic governor’s announcement came after Assembly Bill 10, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, was amended Wednesday to raise the minimum hourly wage to $10 sooner than previously proposed. The bill is moving through the Legislature as lawmakers near the end of session this week.

The measure would raise the minimum hourly wage from $8 to $9 on July 1, 2014, and then to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. Under an earlier version of the bill, the minimum hourly wage would not have reached $10 until 2018.

Brown was joined by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, in announcing support for the bill.

“For millions of California’s hardworking minimum wage employees, a few extra dollars a week can make a huge difference to help them provide for their families,” Steinberg said in a statement.

With Brown and the Democratic leaders of both houses supportive of the measure, Republicans and business groups appeared to have little chance of blocking it.

“You’ve got the governor sending more than just smoke signals and everybody seems to be singing Kumbaya,” said Senate Republican leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar. “So I think it’s pretty much a done deal.”

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